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Maleficarum
Santo Oficio

Bolivia 2011
produced by
Amy Hesketh, Jac Avila for Decadent Cinema, Pachamama Films
directed by Jac Avila
starring Amy Hesketh, Mila Joya, Beto Lopez L, Alejandro Loayza, Eric Calancha, Omar Aldayuz, Roberto Carlos Velazquez, Maria Esther Arteaga, Claudia Moscoso, Barbara Dorado, Manuel Rebollo, Vanessa Calvemontes, Sergio Fernández, Erika Saavedra, Fermín Núnez, Gina Alcon, Massiel Dorado
written by Jac Avila

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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A city in the Andes, the 17th century: Dona Maria Francisca's (Mila Joya) parents contriguted much of their wealth to the church, and it paid (for the church), because they were the richest landowners of the region. Now they are dead, though, and Dona Maria Francisca is not willing to donate more than is absolutely due. Now this is a blow for inquisitor Don Francisco (Beto Lopez L), who has been relying on these voluntary donations - so he tries to find some dirt on Dona Maria Francisca to put her on trial and strip her of all her earthly possessions in the process. And Don Francisco doesn't have to look for long, because Dona Maria Francisca lives with a Lutheran, Mariana (Amy Hesketh), which is a big no-no, and they seem to be in a lesbian relationship, something unheard of back in the day.

All the charges are based on a minor incident, when a few local women tried to bully Mariana, but Maria Francisca came to her rescue. Several bystanders said there was nothing unusual about this, but the local women, driven by greed, jealousy, superstitions, self-righteousness and simple ignorance, are more than eager to blow the thing out of proportions, and before they know it, Mariana is labelled a witch, and Maria Francisca is said to be possessed by a demon. The two of them are dragged to the dungeon, stripped of all their clothing, and viciously tortured, they are whipped, suspended, put on the Spanish Horse and the rack, Mariana is raped before Maria Francisca's very eyes, her body is examined for marks of the devil with a sharp instrument and branded. Eventually, Maria Francisca can't bear seeing her lover tortured anymore, and she wills in to sign a confession ... nothing but a blank paper, with the inquisition filling out the charges later ...

Click here to open the Spoiler Pop-up!

 

A pretty powerful and disturbing movie: Disturbing because the film doesn't really hold back in its many torture scenes, some of which are less than easy to stomach, but powerful because despite all the torture, the film manages to tell a rich story full of interesting characters, it manages to make the love between the two tortured girls who go through hell together rather than betraying one another feelable, and the direction (successfully) aims for atmosphere rather than sleaze.

To put it shortly, a very nice, well-made film. Recommended - but for above reasons probably not for everybody.

 

Oh, and if my review at all got you interested, you may want to get the movie from here: http://movies.vermeerworks.com

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Robots and rats,
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love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
-
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.

 

Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner

 

Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
starring
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD